Partnering to conserve the monarch butterfly migration

Qual Trap Prairie

Submitted By
Ken Hall
Edwards Apple Orchard
Habitat Type
Agricultural Area
Poplar Grove, Illinois
Date Submitted
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Milkweed Species
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa), Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)
Nectar Source Plants
Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), Smooth Blue Aster (Aster laevis), New England Aster (Aster novae-angliae), Sand Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata), Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), Blanket Flower (Gaillardia aristata), Button Blazing Star (Liatris aspera), Wild Lupine (Lupinus perennis)
Habitat Management Practices
We have taken 12+ acres out of cropland production to establish landscape diversity areas and restore a wetland on our farm. Seeded with wildflower and prairie grass mixtures. Limited mowing for establishment year and some limited spot spraying for Canada thistle. Currently experimenting with narrow diversity strips adjacent to orchard blocks to help attract pollinators and provide predator insect cover.
Habitat Details
Many years ago, worked in prairie grass research in Iowa. Have remained interested in prairie and wildlife cover establishment. Have been trying to encourage pollinators by providing season-long food sources. We hope to become less dependent on leased honey bees, and to encourage pollinator diversity. We are in a field corn/soybean dominated area that was once much more diverse. Pastures, forage crops and woodlands have gone by the wayside as commodity prices favored fence-to-fence row crop production, and small dairy farms became unsustainable. It has been 20+ years since we have seen a fencerow blanketed with migrating Monarchs.
We began our efforts as a result of cooperation with University of Illinois students working on landscape diversity projects in the Depart of Crop Science, with Sarah Taylor Lovell, Assist. Professor. Cost of seed and loss of income from fewer crop acres are the two most limiting factors in getting more such plantings established.

Habitat Photos